The United States broke a six-year drought in the Solheim Cup on Sunday, scoring an improbable and emotional 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 victory after a controversial decision Sunday morning left the Americans deflated and all but defeated.
U.S. anchor and captain's pick Paula Creamer finished off the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history with a 4-and-3 win over Sandra Gal as the U.S., which had not won since 2009, rallied from a 10-6 deficit going into the singles. The U.S. won the singles, 8 1/2 to 3/ 1/2.
Europe looked unbeatable heading into the singles after splitting the final Saturday fourball session, 2-2. Three of those matches had to be completed on Sunday morning after having been suspended by darkness on Saturday. The last one, which pitted Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull against Brittany Lincicome and Alison Lee, ended in a 2-up European victory that was marred by acrimony.
On the 17th hole, Lee missed a birdie putt, the ball stopping about 18 inches from the cup. As the Europeans were walking away, Lee picked up the ball, but Pettersen said the Europeans had not conceded the putt. The hole was awarded to Europe, so instead of the match being all square going to the 18th hole, Europe had a 1-up lead. Pettersen and Hull also won the 18th for a 2-up win.
U.S. captain Juli Inkster bitterly criticized the Europeans after the match in a Golf Channel interview. "You just don't do that to your peers ... it's B.S. as far as I'm concerned," Inkster said. "I thought it was a great week for women's golf, and to put a dampener on that, there's no way they could ever justify that."
As defending champion, Europe needed 14 points to retain the cup via a tie. The U.S. needed 14 1/2 points to win. Lexi Thompson, going out first for the Americans, halved with Carlota Ciganda. Morgan Pressel defeated Catriona Matthew, 2 up, but Lincicome fell to Karine Icher, 3 and 2. Brittany Lang fell, 2 and 1, to Melissa Reid, but Lee recovered from her fourball trauma by defeating Gwladys Nocera, 3 and 1. That left Europe with 12 1/2 points, just 1 1/2 from clinching. Anna Nordqvist got Europe within a half-point by beating Stacy Lewis, 2 and 1, but Gerina Piller kept the Americans alive by making an 8-foot par putt on the 18th to top Caroline Masson, 1 up.
Angela Stanford then pulled the U.S. into a tie with a 2-and-1 win over Pettersen, and when Creamer finished off her drubbing of Gal, the U.S. had won.